A new proposal has been put forward by a state representative in Illinois, aiming to eliminate single-family-only zoning in cities across the state.
State Representative Kam Buckner, a Democrat from Chicago, took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to highlight the housing crisis faced by Chicago and numerous cities in Illinois. Rep. Buckner emphasized that this crisis is a result of self-inflicted issues and shared his plan to tackle this problem through House Bill 4795.
According to Buckner, the key to making housing more affordable for a larger number of people is to eliminate the obstacles that make it complicated.
The Single-Family Zoning Ban Act, if passed, would introduce a new measure that prohibits zoning units with a population of 100,000 or more from exclusively designating areas for single-family residential use starting from June 1, 2025. For zoning units with a population of 500,000 or more, this ban would take effect a year later, on June 1, 2026.
Charlie Farner, the owner of Tentac Enterprises, a prominent real estate company in Central Illinois, proudly stated that his company currently boasts 10 active subdivisions scattered throughout Bloomington-Normal.
Farner expressed concern about the potential consequences if the proposal is approved and McLean County qualifies for it. He worries that the single-family zoning on buildable lots might be reversed, forcing residents to replat or redo their subdivisions to comply with the new law. He considers this outcome to be terrible.
According to Farner, if the bill is passed, he has concerns about realtors not being able to earn any income. He further explains that the nature of their work involves leasing apartments rather than selling them.
According to Buckner, his bill aims to eliminate single-family only zoning. He clarified that the proposed legislation would only be applicable to cities with populations exceeding 100,000, which currently includes just eight cities in Illinois.
According to Farner, the current situation can be seen as state intrusion into local planning until we have concrete legislation to examine and analyze in detail.
Farner expressed his lack of trust in the bill’s restricted applicability to just eight cities.
Regardless of political affiliation, it is crucial to prioritize the decision-making power of our local communities. As individuals who reside in these communities, we possess a deep understanding of their unique needs and concerns. Unfortunately, the state often intervenes with a one-size-fits-all approach, disregarding the intricacies of each community. This top-down approach fails to recognize that the best outcomes are achieved when decisions are made at the local level, where the individuals directly affected by those decisions can actively participate. By empowering our local communities, we can ensure that the choices made align with the specific requirements and priorities of each community.
According to Farner, there is no evidence to suggest that the proposed law would effectively tackle high rents or address income inequality.
According to Farner, the actions being taken will have a significant impact not only on us but also on other local developers. This will directly affect the communities and their long-term planning that has been put in place.
According to Farner, it remains uncertain whether Bloomington-Normal will be affected by the proposed ban. However, he expresses concern that this ban could potentially hinder Illinoisans from realizing the American Dream.
A zoning unit with a population of 100,000 or more is prohibited from exclusively zoning an area for single-family residential use, according to the bill.
A “zoning unit” is defined by the bill as a county, municipality, or township. With a population of around 168,000, Bloomington-Normal does not meet the 100,000 threshold individually, where the ban would be applicable.